NEW YORK – A Mass to promote the inclusivity of marginalized groups in the Diocese of Pittsburgh is scheduled for today, about five months after Bishop David Zubik canceled a Mass in solidarity with LGBTQ+ Catholics, in part over safety concerns.
After the first Mass was canceled, the organization hosting the Mass met with Zubik, where both sides agreed to reschedule the event under a broader theme to highlight all who are marginalized by the Church. Today’s Mass is the rescheduled event, with a theme of “The Church Welcoming – No Exceptions,” a reference to Zubik’s recent pastoral letter.
The organization that planned the Mass is “Catholics for Change in Our Church.” Its president, Kevin Hayes, said the goal of the Mass is to make all Catholics feel welcome.
“There was much disappointment among Catholics in Pittsburgh when the June Mass was canceled. It also became clear that in addition to LGBTQ+ Catholics, other Catholics felt marginalized,” Hayes said in a statement.
“The Mass on October 22 invites and seeks to make all Catholics welcome in the celebration of the Eucharist, expressing the love and mercy of God through commemorating the passion and resurrection of Jesus,” he said.
The Mass will be held at Kearns Spirituality Center in Pittsburgh at 1:00 p.m.
The LGBTQ Mass the organization planned back in June caused a stir after a separate organization made its own flyer for the event labeling it as a “Pride Mass,” which sparked outrage. The blowback eventually included hateful and threatening messages, which led Zubik to cancel the Mass – which didn’t have official approval to begin with – in part over safety concerns.
Hayes previously told Crux that it was a mistake to label it a “Pride Mass.” The organization held the Mass last year, labeling it a Mass in solidarity with LGBTQ Catholics, without issue, he said, and intended this year’s Mass to carry the same verbiage.
Zubik did not respond to a Crux request for comment on the rescheduled Mass.
Father John Osterle, who also did not respond to a Crux request for comment, will preside over the Mass.
The guest scripture commentator will be Consuelo “Chelo” Cruz, a former nun and immigrant from Mexico who has lived in Pittsburgh for 25 years, and is a counselor helping indigenous populations and those who identify as LGBTQ+. She is also a catechist with her local parish.
“As a lifelong Catholic, who works with marginalized Catholics and the mother of two members of the LGBTQ+ community, I know we as a Church can be and need to be more welcoming,” Cruz said in a statement. “I look forward to participating in the October 2022 CCOC Mass that seeks to welcome everyone to the altar of Jesus Christ in a gesture of love and fellowship.”
Hayes said he hopes this Mass will lead to others in the future.
“CCOC hopes Bishop Zubik might consider having a similar Mass for the entire diocese, and encourages parishes to have similar celebrations,” Hayes said in a statement.
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